LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – With the power of technology and legal clout, many experts agree that 2017 could be the tipping point in the global battle against human trafficking and modern slavery.
An estimated 45.8 million people live in some form of slavery across the world, according to the 2016 Global Slavery Index by human rights group Walk Free Foundation.
Yet pressure and awareness are now building, big business is starting to lead the way, new laws are being put in place and potentially game-changing technology is available.
We asked experts what they see as the five most important tools in the year ahead to tackle the illegal trade in humans that is worth an estimated $150 billion a year:
Technological innovation and scientific advances are more important than ever in monitoring, detecting and prosecuting cases of trafficking.
Highly specialized and complex tools are trying to accomplish more straightforward aims, whether arming garment workers with “voice and choice” or verifying where source materials, such as cotton, really originate.
U.S.-based software group LaborVoices provides a mobile phone based service allowing factory employees to anonymously report abuse, late wages, safety conditions and child labor.
CEO Kohl Gill told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that the data logged by his company from 20,000 people in over 300 factories in Bangladesh and Turkey provides a chance for workers to “fact check” potential employers.
Big companies can also use the information to use best-in-class factories and problems can be identified early, said Gill.